Entries in "cooperation"
December 20, 2007
BookSense review of the Handbook of Transformative Cooperation
I was notified last week that our handbook had been reviewed by BookSense:
"By now we know top-down change is not always good change, nor is it even more than temporarily efficient. The editors (all organizational behavior, Case Western Reserve U.) and their contributors, primarily US academics, argue for "transformative cooperation" (TC), which they define as a systematic and compassionate method of partnering with like-minded individuals and organizations to produce sustainable alternatives and promote a higher stage of moral development; in the real world this translates to businesses working with governments and non-profits on global concerns. Their topics here include the reasons for using TC in creating a more inclusive capitalism, the transformational nature of compassion at work, ego and identity as barriers to TC, creating TC through positive emotions, applying TC to leadership, designing transformative learning, including researching elementary and high schools for management education, and TC as a generative possibility. Includes case studies and avenues for further inquiry. (Annotation ©2007 Book News Inc. Portland, OR)"
June 23, 2007
perhaps the iPhone is not underpriced!
On Thursday, this Wall Street Journal article by Walter Mossberg was the second-most-emailed item in the paper. Mossberg reviewed the Blackberry Curve 8300 and the Nokia N95, two alternatives to the iPhone, and raved about the N95 with its very high-end camera.
Perhaps I was not that far off base in considering the iPhone as a rival for the Blackberry in my previous post about the iPhone vs. the Blackberry and the Treo. There was another article in the WSJ highlighting how much pressure business IT managers are getting from their employees. Many current Blackberry users want to ensure that they can buy a new iPhone on their own, and still access their Blackberry-based work email when they want. Whether Apple and Research in Motion will work out a patch that satisfies security concerns is an open question... I'm fortunate that the outcome of that negotiation will not affect my ability to use an iPhone for email.
I do still want to know what the monthly charge will be from AT&T for data charges, though. That would make me think... but not for very long. I hope there are still some iPhones available in Cupertino on Sunday, July 1!
June 20, 2007
transformative cooperation book is now available
I came in to the office today for the first time in a while, and found a box addressed to me, Ron Fry, and David Cooperrider. Immediately, I knew that it was the first copies of the Handbook of Transformative Cooperation. I'll be carrying one around all day, and I'll be surprised if my feet touch the ground again before bedtime -- I'm floating in a cloud of happiness and relief!
June 16, 2007
iPhone takes on the Blackberry and the Treo
I am by no means a marketing expert, but it doesn't take much education on the topic to figure out that products anyone can acquire are less desirable to trendsetters. Perhaps most users of the Blackberry and the Treo are not trendsetters -- perhaps they like to just follow the crowd. They may even be required to do so. (I have certainly been told that more than one employer requires the use of Blackberry, a dubious policy for organizations to adopt if they are to recruit and retain outstanding employees in today's world of work.)
The question is, how many people want to be trendsetters? My guess is, more than the number who will be able to acquire an iPhone between now and Christmas. Probably by a factor of three or four.
I'm definitely a trendsetter-wanna-be. The demo of visual voicemail was appealing -- I hate having to wade through seven voicemails without knowing if any of them were left by anyone I'm really waiting to hear from, or if they're just lower-priority communications that should have been sent through email. Appealing, but not compelling.
It was the demo of websurfing on the iPhone that was compelling. Clearly, I'm in the target market, because the webpage being surfed is not myspace -- it's the New York Times. The demo shows that Apple has applied the same attention to human-computer interface when designing the iPhone that they have become known for with their operating systems, laptops, and iPods. This commercial is really all the instruction in using the iPhone any typical user will need.
So, I have signed up for a Cingular/AT&T cellular account, and for email alerts with both the cellular provider and with Apple directly. I'm not going to be camping outside a cellphone store on the night of June 28, but I'd love to be able to figure out how to acquire an iPhone before I attend the Academy of Management annual international meeting in Philadelphia at the beginning of August. Perhaps I would not even need to take my laptop with me! It could be a new frontier in flexible work.
How much of the Blackberry and Treo market will Apple be able to take a bite of between now and Christmas? This report from last December doesn't even show Apple as a player in the "converged mobile device" market -- and in fact, the manufacturers of the Blackberry did not hold the top market share spot. That honor went to Nokia, with 38.7 million units shipped. Nokia also holds top honors in the smartphone market segment. The unknown is how Apple's exclusive partnership with Cingular/AT&T will affect trendsetters' willingness to go with the iPhone.
The logical followup question is, how much will the converged mobile device market grow between June 29 and the end of December? The 42 percent growth rate over 2005 sounds quite impressive. My bet is that the rate will be at least sustained, if not increased, through the end of 2006. In some ways, accelerating the growth of this market segment would be just as much of a victory for Apple as stealing market share away from the Blackberry or the Treo would be.
Once again, Steve Jobs' team will be creating an entirely new stream of Apple customers, who will almost inevitably be drawn to purchasing songs on iTunes and laptops at the Apple Store. Here's hoping that the product launch on the 29th doesn't cause any riots!
June 13, 2007
Handbook of Transformative Cooperation: New Designs and Dynamics
Our handbook (which I co-edited with Ron Fry and David Cooperrider) is to be released next week, according to its Amazon listing. (The other good news is that Amazon is quoting a price almost 30% off Stanford University Press' list price.)
Here is a list of chapters and contributors:
December 28, 2006
choices made, and results to follow
"Local government officials are going to have to put away their personal agendas long enough to work together toward improving Northeast Ohio’s future. ... The “Report on the Public’s Priorities for Northeast Ohio’s Future” also noted that post-secondary education must be more affordable, accessible and achievable; quality education and training for low-income residents and minorities must be made more available; and businesses and local entrepreneurs will need increased public and private investment and support."
The report that Mortland summarizes is worth reading to appreciate the magnitude of the challenges that face this region. I also recommend downloading the earlier released report on citizen interviews, which includes extensive quotes from Northeast Ohio residents. It's worth reading, and worth acting upon.
How will we help move these choices from ideas to action? How will we measure the results of those actions?
October 01, 2006
management skills save the world, one orphanage at a time
One of my former students, and a recent alumna of Case Western Reserve, has been blogging about her experiences as a volunteer in Kenya. I have found her entries touching and inspiring.
"Each time someone stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope." -- Robert F. Kennedy
August 31, 2006
a reminder of cultural differences
Even within the state of Ohio, there are important cultural differences -- the ones that originate in popular culture, as experienced by people of different ages. We are well into the arrival of Generation Y on our college campuses, and this year's edition of the Beloit Mindset List allows us a small peek into the reality of our entering undergraduate students.
I wish there was a "cheat sheet" for college professors about currently popular music. I used a CD from my car as background music before my first class started on Tuesday afternoon, and the first song on the CD (not the one I wanted to play, but it started playing unbidden, before I could figure out the upgraded interface on the touchpanel that controls the classroom technology) was Russ Freeman's "Anywhere Near You" from his album drive. Within 3 seconds, my students were making jokes about "hey, it's the WAVE!" This was not the first impression that I wanted to make.
But of course, I have no idea if playing "Breaking Free" from the soundtrack for High School Musical would be more hip, or just a sad, outdated attempt at appearing to be able to connect with college sophomores.
How do generational differences become apparent to you in your workplace? What helps bridge generational differences?
August 01, 2006
Best Buy's best bet: Results Oriented Work Environment
I missed a really interesting NPR piece while I was out of the country, focusing on how Best Buy has implemented flextime. Here's the link to the audio of Wendy Kaufman's report. (The story is just over 3 minutes long, and includes an introduction by Renée Montaigne.)
Listening to the piece makes me long to learn more about how this change is really rolling out within the company. I assume that it is overseen by the company's top HR officer, Lori Ballard. I wonder how I could get connected to her for an interview that would let me write a little mini-case for my course next spring... any suggestions?
April 13, 2006
inspiring meeting yesterday -- building a regional coalition
My NEOBEAN colleagues and I met with Eric Brewer, the mayor of East Cleveland, and he was very supportive and willing to work with us in getting breastfeeding education materials to his city's residents. He and Norm Roulet (who is working on lead abatement in the region) further challenged us to draw together a team of people to get involved in a health fair in the city next month, and to figure out how to reach out to and offer prenatal care, easier access to WIC and other government services, and make sure that all pregnant women are educated about the potential dangers of lead contamination in their living quarters.
I hope that we can draw in some student volunteers to help us with the outreach and health promotion aspects of the initiative. It would be great if we could find a way to offer health promotion curriculum in middle schools and high schools.
October 18, 2005
tangling with critics of the democratization of knowledge
I had read a while back that some academics were hostile toward Wikipedia, but I had not encountered it myself till this weekend. I attended an academic retreat on worthy puzzles in the field of organizational studies, and in between formal sessions, had several conversations in which I suggested that Wikipedia was a fascinating example of self-organizing that was worthy of study. In response, I encountered derision from two faculty who advanced the first two on Wikipedia's list of criticisms of Wikipedia. I found myself motivated to become an evangelist for Wikipedia, countering their criticisms so that they would consider exploring the community from my point of view, as a potentially interesting phenomenon to study.
July 29, 2005
voluntary collaborations on the web
Every time I run across an example of a large-scale voluntary collaboration on the WWW, my optimism for the future is reinforced. These types of projects often have the feel of an open source computer programming effort, in that their aim is to produce a collective good by involving anyone who wished to be involved in the production process. In many cases, they also aim to make the product or service available to all for free. They are not always focused on computer programs, though -- Wikipedians, for instance, are focused on building a storehouse of knowledge for future generations, in over 200 different languages.
The desire to share knowledge with others, accurately, and from a neutral point of view, embodies a set of values that are close to my heart (and are shared by most university professors, I would hope). Indeed, the challenge of teaching individuals how to distinguish between established facts and research conclusions on the one hand, and hypotheses and opinions on the other, is central to a university's teaching mission. Sorting through those hypotheses and opinions and making judgments about which can be moved into the category of facts and conclusions is central to a university's scholarly mission.
I'm thrilled and inspired by the idea of a Wikipedia, and even the idea of Wikibooks is appealing. When I encountered the fledgling Wikiversity, though, I realized that the publishers of encyclopedias and books must be somewhat less than thrilled by these potential free competitors. What will become of universities if the Wikipedians are able to expand their success with their online encyclopedia into the realm of university courses? Will everyone choose to pursue their higher education online, rather than attending courses in person on an old-style university campus? I doubt it, based on my belief that many things (particularly in my field, the study of human interaction in organizations) cannot be understood merely by reading about them.
I do wonder whether anyone in organizational behavior is studying what makes these open source efforts work. Efforts like Drupal, for instance, combine long periods of work coordinated via the web and email with face-to-face conferences, and my hypothesis is that when online communication leads to face-to-face communication, the effort will be more likely to sustain itself and achieve goals for progress defined by the participants. Understanding how these voluntary collaborations which make use of the web work would help contribute to our understanding of transformative cooperation more generally.
I'm off to work on the introductory chapter of our forthcoming book, A Handbook of Transformative cooperation: New Designs and Dynamics, to be published in the traditional mode next year. (I'm not sure my colleagues would consider something published on Wikibooks to be a valuable contribution, yet!) Still, I hope that my colleagues in the blogosphere will let me know if they run across any research about what makes open source collaborations effective!